Practice Relating to Rule 55. Access for Humanitarian Relief to Civilians in Need

Geneva Convention IV
Article 30, first paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides:
Protected persons shall have every facility for making application to the Protecting Powers, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the National Red Cross (Red Crescent, Red Lion and Sun) Society of the country where they may be, as well as to any organization that might assist them. 
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 30, para. 1.
Additional Protocol I
Article 70(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides:
If the civilian population of any territory under the control of a Party to the conflict, other than occupied territory, is not adequately provided with the supplies mentioned in Article 69, relief actions which are humanitarian and impartial in character and conducted without any adverse distinction shall be undertaken, subject to the agreement of the Parties concerned in such relief actions … In the distribution of relief consignments, priority shall be given to those persons, such as children, expectant mothers, maternity cases and nursing mothers, who, under the Fourth Convention or under this Protocol, are to be accorded privileged treatment or special protection. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 70(1). Article 70 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.43, 27 May 1977, p. 245.
Additional Protocol II
Article 18(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol II provides:
If the civilian population is suffering undue hardship owing to a lack of the supplies essential for its survival, such as food-stuffs and medical supplies, relief actions for the civilian population which are of an exclusively humanitarian and impartial nature and which are conducted without any adverse distinction shall be undertaken subject to the consent of the High Contracting Party concerned. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 18(2). Article 18 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VII, CDDH/SR.53, 6 June 1977, p. 150.
Recommendation on the Tragic Situation of Civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Paragraph 5 of the 1992 Recommendation on the Tragic Situation of Civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina states: “Persons temporarily transferred to areas other than their areas of origin should benefit, as vulnerable groups, from international assistance, inter alia, in conformity with its mandate, by the ICRC.” 
Recommendation on the Tragic Situation of Civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina, adopted at the invitation of the International Committee of the Red Cross and signed by Representatives of Mr. Alija Izetbegović (President of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and President of the Party of Democratic Action), Representative of Mr. Radovan Karadžić (President of the Serbian Democratic Party), and Representative of Mr. Mate Boban (President of the Croatian Democratic Community), Geneva, 1 October 1992, § 5.
N’Djamena Protocol on the Establishment of Humanitarian Assistance
Article 1 of the 2004 N’Djamena Protocol on the Establishment of Humanitarian Assistance states:
Human sufferings will be taken into account wherever they are found; rights of all vulnerable persons will be respected and protected. The rights to receive humanitarian assistance and protection, and to provide it, is fundamental. 
Protocol on the Establishment of Humanitarian Assistance in Darfur, signed by the Government of Sudan, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army, the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement, the African Union and the Chadian Mediation, N’Djamena, 8 April 2004, annexed to the N’Djamena Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement, signed by the Government of Sudan, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army, the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement, the African Union and the Chadian Mediation, N’Djamena, 8 April 2004, Article 1.
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) states that, if the civilian population of any territory under the control of a party to the conflict, other than occupied territory, is insufficiently provided with supplies (such as foodstuffs, medical supplies, means of shelter and other supplies essential to the survival of the civilian population), relief actions of a humanitarian and impartial character shall be undertaken, subject to the agreement of the parties concerned. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, § 4.11.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides: “Every opportunity must be given to protected persons to apply to the Protecting Powers, the ICRC, the local National Red Cross (or equivalent) society or any other organization that may assist them”. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 11-4, § 31.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001), in its chapter entitled “Treatment of civilians in the hands of a party to the conflict or an occupying power” and, more specifically, in a section entitled “Provisions common to the territories of the parties to the conflict and to occupied territories”, states:
Every opportunity must be given to protected persons to apply to the Protecting Powers, the ICRC, the local National Red Cross (or equivalent) society or any other organization that may assist them. Within the limits of military or security considerations, the belligerent must provide these organizations with all necessary facilities for given assistance. Belligerents must facilitate as much as possible visits to protected persons not only by delegates of the Protecting Powers and of the ICRC but also by representatives of other organizations ministering to their spiritual or material need. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 1120.
In the same chapter, in a section entitled “Aliens in the territory of a party to the conflict”, the manual states:
Subject to security requirements protected persons who remain in the territory of the belligerent must, in general, be treated in accordance with the rules governing the treatment of aliens in time of peace. In particular, they must be allowed to receive any individual or collective relief that may be sent to them. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 1123.
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic’s Instructor’s Manual (1999) states in Volume 2 (Instruction for group and patrol leaders) that “civilians who are under the authority of the adverse party … have the right … to receive relief.” 
Central African Republic, Le Droit de la Guerre, Fascicule No. 2: Formation pour l’obtention du certificat technique No. 2 (Chef de Groupe), du certificat Inter-Armé (CIA), du certificat d’aptitude de Chef de Patrouille (CACP) , Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Centrafricaines, 1999, Chapter I, Fundamental Rules, § 4.
Djibouti
Djibouti’s Manual on International Humanitarian Law (2004) states that “the civilian population has the right to receive objects essential for its survival.” 
Djibouti, Manuel sur le droit international humanitaire et les droits de l’homme applicables au travail du policier, Ministère de l’Intérieur, Direction Générale de la Police, 2004, p. 31.
Germany
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) states: “Civilians may at any time seek help from a protecting power, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) or any other aid society.” 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten KonfliktenHandbuch, August 1992, § 516.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands provides: “If the civilian population of a certain area is not equipped with elementary necessities, relief actions have to be undertaken.” 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. VIII-4.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
If the civilian population of a territory is not adequately provided with elementary supplies (food, medicines and dressings, clothing, shelter, etc.), relief actions must be undertaken. This relates to the civilian population as a whole, in other words not only protected persons. Offers of such relief may not be regarded as intervention in the armed conflict. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0818.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states:
Section 10 - Humanitarian aid
1070. …
The International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo drew up the “Guiding Principles on the Right to Humanitarian Assistance” in 1993. This “recommendation” states … inter alia that there is a right to request and receive humanitarian aid. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1070 and p. 172.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) provides:
Every opportunity must be given to protected persons to apply for help from the Protecting Powers, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the local national Red Cross (or equivalent) society or any other organisation that may assist them. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 1115.
Nicaragua
Nicaragua’s Military Manual (1996) states: “The civilian population has the right to receive the relief they need.” 
Nicaragua, Manual de Comportamiento y Proceder de las Unidades Militares y de los Miembros del Ejército de Nicaragua en Tiempo de Paz, Conflictos Armados, Situaciones Irregulares o Desastres Naturales, Ejército de Nicaragua, Estado Mayor General, Asesoría Jurídica del Nicaragua, 1996, Article 14(33).
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) provides that, in a territory temporarily occupied by foreign troops, “civilians shall have every facility for making application to the Protecting Powers, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the national Red Cross Society of the country where they may be, as well as to any organization that might assist them”. 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 155(1).
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Military Manual (1958) provides:
Every opportunity must be given to protected persons to apply to the Protecting Powers, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the local national Red Cross (or equivalent) society or any other organisation that may assist them. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 40.
United States of America
The US Field Manual (1956) provides:
Protected persons shall have every facility for making application to the Protecting Powers, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the National Red Cross (Red Crescent, Red Lion and Sun) Society of the country where they may be, as well as to any organization that might assist them. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, § 269.
United States of America
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1956) states:
Article 30 [of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV] seeks to put teeth into the Geneva protections by requiring the parties to give protected persons every facility for making application to the Protecting Powers, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the National Red Cross (Red Crescent, Red Lion and Sun) Society of the country where they may be, as well as to any organization that might assist them. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, § 14-4.
Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s International Crimes (Tribunal) Act (1973) states that the “violation of any humanitarian rules applicable in armed conflicts laid down in the Geneva Conventions of 1949” is a crime. 
Bangladesh, International Crimes (Tribunal) Act, 1973, Section 3(2)(e).
Denmark
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 1973, as amended in 1978, § 25(1).
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 2005, § 36(2).
Ireland
Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, provides that any “minor breach” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including violations of Article 30 of the Geneva Convention IV, and of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, including violations of Article 70(1), as well as any “contravention” of the 1977 Additional Protocol II, including violations of Article 18(2), are punishable offences. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 4(1) and (4).
Norway
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 … [and in] the two additional protocols to these Conventions … is liable to imprisonment. 
Norway, Military Penal Code, 1902, as amended in 1981, § 108.
No data.
South Africa
In 1987, in the Petane case, the Cape Provincial Division of South Africa’s Supreme Court dismissed the accused’s claim that the 1977 Additional Protocol I reflected customary international law. The Court stated:
The accused has been indicted before this Court on three counts of terrorism, that is to say, contraventions of s 54(1) of the Internal Security Act 74 of 1982. He has also been indicted on three counts of attempted murder.
The accused’s position is stated to be that this Court has no jurisdiction to try him.
… The point in its early formulation was this. By the terms of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I to the [1949] Geneva Conventions the accused was entitled to be treated as a prisoner-of-war. A prisoner-of-war is entitled to have notice of an impending prosecution for an alleged offence given to the so-called “protecting power” appointed to watch over prisoners-of-war. Since, if such a notice were necessary, the trial could not proceed without it, Mr Donen suggested that the necessity or otherwise for giving such a notice should be determined before evidence was led. …
On 12 August 1949 there were concluded at Geneva in Switzerland four treaties known as the Geneva Conventions. …
South Africa was among the nations which concluded the treaties. … Except for the common art 3, which binds parties to observe a limited number of fundamental humanitarian principles in armed conflicts not of an international character, they apply to wars between States.
After the Second World War many conflicts arose which could not be characterised as international. It was therefore considered desirable by some States to extend and augment the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, so as to afford protection to victims of and combatants in conflicts which fell outside the ambit of these Conventions. The result of these endeavours was Protocol I and Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions, both of which came into force on 7 December 1978.
Protocol II relates to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts. Since the State of affairs which exists in South Africa has by Protocol I been characterised as an international armed conflict, Protocol II does not concern me at all.
The extension of the scope of art 2 of the Geneva Conventions was, at the time of its adoption, controversial. …
The article has remained controversial. More debate has raged about its field of operation than about any other articles in Protocol I. …
South Africa is one of the countries which has not acceded to Protocol I. Nevertheless, I am asked to decide, as I indicated earlier, as a preliminary point, whether Protocol I has become part of customary international law. If so, it is argued that it would have been incorporated into South African law. If it has been so incorporated it would have to be proved by one or other of the parties that the turmoil which existed at the time when the accused is alleged to have committed his offences was such that it could properly be described as an “armed conflict” conducted by “peoples” against a “ra[c]ist regime” in the exercise of their “right of self-determination”. Once all this has been shown it would have to be demonstrated to the Court that the accused conducted himself in such a manner as to become entitled to the benefits conferred by Protocol I on combatants, for example that, broadly speaking, he had, while he was launching an attack, distinguished himself from civilians and had not attacked civilian targets. …
… I am prepared to accept that where a rule of customary international law is recognised as such by international law it will be so recognised by our law.
To my way of thinking, the trouble with the first Protocol giving rise to State practice is that its terms have not been capable of being observed by all that many States. At the end of 1977 when the treaty first lay open for ratification there were few States which were involved in colonial domination or the occupation of other States and there were only two, South Africa and Israel, which were considered to fall within the third category of ra[c]ist regimes. Accordingly, the situation sought to be regulated by the first Protocol was one faced by few countries; too few countries in my view, to permit any general usage in dealing with armed conflicts of the kind envisaged by the Protocol to develop.
Mr Donen contended that the provisions of multilateral treaties can become customary international law under certain circumstances. I accept that this is so. There seems in principle to be no reason why treaty rules cannot acquire wider application than among the parties to the treaty.
Brownlie Principles of International Law 3rd ed at 13 agrees that non-parties to a treaty may by their conduct accept the provisions of a multilateral convention as representing general international law. …
I incline to the view that non-ratification of a treaty is strong evidence of non-acceptance.
It is interesting to note that the first Protocol makes extensive provision for the protection of civilians in armed conflict. …
In this sense, Protocol I may be described as an enlightened humanitarian document. If the strife in South Africa should deteriorate into an armed conflict we may all one day find it a cause for regret that the ideologically provocative tone of s 1(4) has made it impossible for the Government to accept its terms.
To my mind it can hardly be said that Protocol I has been greeted with acclaim by the States of the world. Their lack of enthusiasm must be due to the bizarre mixture of political and humanitarian objects sought to be realised by the Protocol. …
According to the International Review of the Red Cross (January/February 1987) No 256, as at December 1986, 66 States were parties to Protocol I and 60 to Protocol II, which, it will be remembered, deals with internal non-international armed conflicts. With the exception of France, which acceded only to Protocol II, not one of the world’s major powers has acceded to or ratified either of the Protocols. This position should be compared to the 165 States which are parties to the Geneva Conventions.
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status o[f] customary international [law].
I have not been persuaded by the arguments which I have heard on behalf of the accused that the assessment of Professor Dugard, writing in the Annual Survey of South African Law (1983) at 66, that “it is argued with growing conviction that under contemporary international law members of SWAPO [South-West Africa People’s Organisation] and the ANC [African National Congress] are members of liberation movements entitled to prisoner-of-war status, in terms of a new customary rule spawned by the 1977 Protocols”, is correct. On what I have heard in argument I disagree with his assessment that there is growing support for the view that the Protocols reflect a new rule of customary international law. No writer has been cited who supports this proposition. Here and there someone says that it may one day come about. I am not sure that the provisions relating to the field of application of Protocol I are capable of ever becoming a rule of customary international law, but I need not decide that point today.
For the reasons which I have given I have concluded that the provisions of Protocol I have not been accepted in customary international law. They accordingly form no part of South African law.
This conclusion has made it unnecessary for me to give a decision on the question of whether rules of customary international law which conflict with the statutory or common law of this country will be enforced by its courts.
In the result, the preliminary point is dismissed. The trial must proceed. 
South Africa, Supreme Court, Petane case, Judgment, 3 November 1987, pp. 2–8.
[END DATE]
South Africa
In 2010, in the Boeremag case, South Africa’s North Gauteng High Court stated:
In Petane, … Conradie J found that the provisions of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I are not part of customary international law, and therefore are also not part of South African law.
Referring to the fact that in December 1986 only 66 of the 165 States party to the Geneva Conventions had ratified Protocol I, the Court [in Petane] stated:
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status of customary international law.
Important changes with respect to certain aspects applicable at the time of Petane have taken place. The ANC [African National Congress] has become South Africa’s ruling party and in 1995 ratified Protocol I. The total number of States that have ratified it, is now … 162.
This last aspect forms the basis on which the First Respondent [the State] and the applicants agree that Protocol I forms part of customary international law as well as of South African law. As requested, this position is accepted for the purposes of the decision, without deciding on the matter.
Despite these changes, it remains debatable whether the provisions of Protocol I have become a part of South African law in this way.
The consensus of both parties to the conflict is required. See Petane … and Article 96 of Protocol I. …
Parliament’s failure to incorporate Protocol I into legislation in accordance with Article 231(4) of the Constitution in fact points to the contrary, and is indicative that the requirements of usus and/or opinio juris have not been met. See Petane. 
South Africa, North Gauteng High Court, Boeremag case, Judgment, 26 August 2010, pp. 21–22.
[footnotes in original omitted]
The Court also held:
If the [1977 Additional Protocol I] applies in South Africa as customary international law, the two requirements that form the basis of customary law must be met. It is arguable that the requirement of usus has been met by the vast number of States that have acceded or ratified it. By ratifying Protocol I the Republic of South Africa has indicated its intention to apply the Protocol, thereby fulfilling the requirement of opinio juris. 
South Africa, North Gauteng High Court, Boeremag case, Judgment, 26 August 2010, p. 66.
Colombia
The Report on the Practice of Colombia refers to a draft internal working paper in which the Colombian Government stated: “The parties in conflict must guarantee the right to protection and humanitarian assistance of the victims of political violence.” 
Report on the Practice of Colombia, 1998, Chapter 4.1, referring to Presidential Council, Proposal of the Government to the Coordinator Guerrillerra Simón Bolívar to humanize war, Draft Internal Working Paper, Part entitled “El Derecho Internacional Humanitario”, § 8.
Ethiopia
In the context of the conflict in Ethiopia, it has been reported that “to combat new famine threats, in early 1991 the EPLF [Eritrean People’s Liberation Front] and the Ethiopian Government agreed on a joint and equal distribution of UN famine relief supplies”. 
Amnesty International, Ethiopia: End of an Era of Brutal Repression, London, May 1991, p. 43.
According to the Report on the Practice of Ethiopia, “this and similar practices tend to indicate that, however recent, the right to humanitarian relief is gaining respect” in Ethiopia. 
Report on the Practice of Ethiopia, 1998, Chapter 4.1.
France
In 2009, the President of the French Republic stated:
[In Sri Lanka], [t]ogether with the UN Secretary General, we demand a humanitarian truce in order to allow the civilian population to leave the combat zone and to receive the assistance to which it is entitled. 
France, Address by the President of the French Republic on the 90th Anniversary of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 4 May 2009, p. 2.
Germany
In 1993, during a parliamentary debate on the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a German Minister of State stated that existing IHL granted a right to the civilian population to receive humanitarian aid. Therefore, obtaining the consent of the occupying or besieging forces to grant transit of humanitarian goods was legally unnecessary. 
Germany, Lower House of Parliament, Statement by a Minister of State, 22 April 1993, Plenarprotokoll 12/152, p. 13074, § C.
Germany
In 1997, during an open debate in the UN Security Council, Germany declared: “We have witnessed … a worrisome development whereby civilian populations are denied humanitarian assistance by the Powers in control of the territory, in clear breach of the norms of international humanitarian and human rights law.” The consequences of these actions were said to range from massive displacement to death by starvation. 
Germany, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.3778 (Resumption 1), 21 May 1997, p. 18.
Mexico
In 2007, during a debate in the UN General Assembly on the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the UN, the permanent representative of Mexico stated:
Mexico is … concerned by the fact that the issue of access to civilians in armed conflicts is being interpreted as a question of interference without considering that this is a fundamental human right of the victims. 
Mexico, Statement by the permanent representative at the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc A/62/PV.54, 19 November 2007, p. 10.
South Africa
In 2011, in an opening statement at the Eleventh Annual Regional Seminar on the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law in Pretoria, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa stated:
[W]ithin the debate of the protection of civilians, it remains vital to reflect on the necessity to allow safe and unimpeded access to the vulnerable communities. Just in the past few months we have again seen that if aid organisations are not allowed access to affected communities, those communities are not only traumatised, but are placed in desperate positions, with their basic rights of access to food and water being denied. Providing essential services on the respected humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartially and humanity remains critical when addressing the protection needs of civilians. 
South Africa, Opening statement by the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation at the Eleventh Annual Regional Seminar on the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law in Pretoria, 23 August 2011.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states:
Humanitarian access
If the civilian population is not adequately provided with food supplies, international humanitarian law provides that relief actions which are humanitarian, impartial and non-discriminatory shall be undertaken, subject to the consent of the parties concerned. It also requires States to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded access of relief consignments. Civilians have the right to turn to any organisation that could come to their aid. Despite this, humanitarian organisations often have no access to Civilians in need of assistance and protection in Armed conflicts, either because the parties to the conflict refuse permission, or because of geographical or logistical difficulties, bureaucratic obstacles or security considerations. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ABC of International Humanitarian Law, 2009, pp. 22–23.
To protect the civilian population in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel, and to help the large numbers of victims in Gaza, the parties to the conflict must urgently implement an effective ceasefire and commit unconditionally to fulfilling their obligations under international law. …
The most pressing matter at hand is a comprehensive and lasting cease-fire, allowing civilians to live without fear and victims to access aid from humanitarian agencies. As the norms of international humanitarian law only specify minimum standards – already taking into account military and security imperatives – they must be respected unconditionally. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “Middle East: parties to the conflict must urgently heed international calls”, Press Release, 30 July 2014, p. 1.
UN Security Council
In 1998, in a statement by its President on children and armed conflict, the UN Security Council expressed “its readiness to consider, when appropriate, means to assist with the effective provision and protection of humanitarian aid and assistance to civilian population in distress, in particular women and children”. 
UN Security Council, Statement by the President, UN Doc. S/PRST/1998/18, 29 June 1998, pp. 1 and 2.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1970 on basic principles for the protection of civilian populations in armed conflicts, the UN General Assembly stated:
The provision of international relief to civilian populations is in conformity with the humanitarian principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments in the field of human rights. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 2675 (XXV), 9 December 1970, § 8, voting record: 109-0-8-10.
UN General Assembly
In the United Nations Millennium Declaration adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2000, the heads of State and government declared that they would
spare no effort to ensure that children and all civilian populations that suffer disproportionately the consequences of natural disasters, genocide, armed conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies are given every assistance and protection so that they can resume normal life as soon as possible. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 55/2, 8 September 2000, § 26, adopted without a vote.
UN Secretary-General
In 1996, in a report on emergency assistance to Sudan, the UN Secretary-General stated that the two main southern factions, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and the Southern Sudan Independent Army (SSIA), had endorsed new rules on cooperation with Operation Lifeline Sudan. These rules contained specific references to respect for and the upholding, inter alia, of a set of principles governing humanitarian aid, including “the right to offer and receive assistance”. In his concluding observations, the Secretary-General condemned the fact that the conflict in the Sudan had affected the lives of millions of Sudanese, stating:
Under such circumstances any attempt to diminish the capacity of the international community to respond to conditions of suffering and hardship among the civilian population in the Sudan can only give rise to the most adamant expressions of concern as a violation of recognized humanitarian principles, most importantly, the right of civilian populations to receive humanitarian assistance in times of war. 
UN Secretary-General, Report on emergency assistance to Sudan, UN Doc. A/51/326, 4 September 1996, §§ 71 and 93.
UN Secretary-General
In 1998, in a report on protection for humanitarian assistance to refugees and others in conflict situations, the UN Secretary-General stated:
Under international law, refugees, displaced persons and other victims of conflict have a right to international protection and assistance where this is not available from their national authorities. However, if this right is to have any meaning for the intended beneficiaries, then the beneficiaries must have effective access to the providers of that protection and assistance. Access to humanitarian assistance and protection, or humanitarian access, is therefore an essential subsidiary or ancillary right that gives meaning and effect to the core rights of protection and assistance. Humanitarian access is, inter alia, a right of refugees, displaced persons and other civilians in conflict situations and should not be seen as a concession to be granted to humanitarian organizations on an arbitrary basis. 
UN Secretary-General, Report on protection for humanitarian assistance to refugees and others in conflict situations, UN Doc. S/1998/883, 22 September 1998, § 15.
UN Secretary-General
In 1999, in a report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the UN Secretary-General called on neighbouring States “to bring any issues that might threaten the right of civilians to assistance to the attention of the Security Council as a matter affecting peace and security”. 
UN Secretary-General, Report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, UN Doc. S/1999/957, 8 September 1999, recommendation 19.
UN Secretary-General
In 2001, in a report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the UN Secretary-General stated: “Under international law, displaced persons and other victims of conflict are entitled to international protection and assistance where this is not available from national authorities.” 
UN Secretary-General, Report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, UN Doc. S/2001/331, 30 March 2001, § 17.
No data.
World Conference on Human Rights
The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993, reaffirmed “the right of the victims to be assisted by humanitarian organizations, as set forth in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and other relevant instruments of international humanitarian law”. 
World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna, 14–25 June 1993, Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, UN Doc. A/CONF.157/23, 12 July 1993, § I(29).
International Conference for the Protection of War Victims
In the Final Declaration adopted by the International Conference for the Protection of War Victims in 1993, the participants declared that they refused to accept that “victims [are] denied elementary humanitarian assistance”. 
International Conference for the Protection of War Victims, Geneva, 30 August–1 September 1993, Final Declaration, § I(1), ILM, Vol. 33, 1994, p. 298.
International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (1995)
The 26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 1995 adopted a resolution on protection of the civilian population in period of armed conflict in which it strongly reasserted “the right of a civilian population in need to benefit from impartial humanitarian relief actions in accordance with international humanitarian law”. 
26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Geneva, 3–7 December 1995, Res. II, § A(h).
International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (1995)
The 26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 1995 adopted a resolution on the principles and action in international humanitarian assistance and protection in which it took note of Resolution 11 of the Council of Delegates held in 1993 in Birmingham which, inter alia, reminded States of “the victims’ right to receive humanitarian assistance”. 
26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Geneva, 3–7 December 1995, Res. IV, preamble.
International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (1999)
The Plan of Action for the years 2000–2003 adopted in 1999 by the 27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent proposed that all the parties to an armed conflict take effective measures to ensure that “every possible effort is made to provide the civilian population with all essential goods and services for its survival”. 
27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Geneva, 31 October–6 November 1999, Res. I, Annex 2, Plan of Action for the years 2000–2003, Actions proposed for final goal 1.1, § 1(g).
African Parliamentary Conference on International Humanitarian Law for the Protection of Civilians during Armed Conflict
The Final Declaration adopted in 2002 by the African Parliamentary Conference on International Humanitarian Law for the Protection of Civilians during Armed Conflict emphasized that “we agree that all civilians in need are to benefit from impartial humanitarian relief actions”. 
African Parliamentary Conference on International Humanitarian Law for the Protection of Civilians during Armed Conflict, Niamey, 18–20 February 2002, Final Declaration, § 14.
No data.
Council of Delegates (1991)
At its Budapest Session in 1991, the Council of Delegates adopted a resolution on humanitarian assistance in situations of armed conflict which recalled that “the principle of humanity and the rules of international humanitarian law recognize the victims’ right to receive protection and assistance in all circumstances”. 
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Council of Delegates, Budapest Session, 28–30 November 1991, Res. 12, preamble.
Council of Delegates (1993)
At its Birmingham Session in 1993, the Council of Delegates adopted a resolution on principles of humanitarian assistance in which it noted that victims have the “right to be recognized as victims and to receive assistance”. 
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Council of Delegates, Birmingham Session, 29–30 October 1993, Res. 11, § 1(b).
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
The Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Disaster Relief states: “The right to receive humanitarian assistance, and to offer it, is a fundamental humanitarian principle which should be enjoyed by all citizens of all countries.” 
Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Disaster Relief, IRRC, No. 310, 1996, Annex VI.
ICRC
In a communication to the press issued in 1997 concerning the conflict in Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo), the ICRC appealed to all concerned to “respect the victims’ right to assistance and protection”. 
ICRC, Communication to the Press No. 97/08, Zaire: ICRC Demands Access to Conflict Victims, 2 April 1997.
International Institute of Humanitarian Law
The Guiding Principles on the Right to Humanitarian Assistance, adopted by the Council of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in 1993, state:
Every human being has the right to humanitarian assistance in order to ensure respect for the human rights to life, health, protection against cruel and degrading treatment and other human rights which are essential to survival, well-being and protection in public emergencies.
The right to humanitarian assistance implies the right to request and to receive such assistance, as well as to participate in its practical implementation. 
International Institute of Humanitarian Law, Guiding Principles on the Right to Humanitarian Assistance, Principles 1 and 2, IRRC, No. 297, 1993, pp. 521–522.
International Institute of Humanitarian Law
In 1995, the International Institute of Humanitarian Law stated that any declaration on minimum humanitarian standards should be based on “principles … of jus cogens, expressing basic humanitarian consideration[s] which are recognized to be universally binding”. According to the Institute, this includes the principle that “the population and individuals have the right to receive humanitarian assistance when suffering undue hardship owing to the lack of supplies essential for their survival, when this is the result of the conflict or violence deployed in the area”. 
International Institute of Humanitarian Law, Comments on the Turku Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards submitted to the UN Secretary-General, §§ 1 and 21, reprinted in UN Doc. E/CN.4/1996/80, Report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to UN Commission on Human Rights resolution 1995/29, 28 November 1995, pp. 8 and 11.